We got our Christmas tree today. Being city people, we’re okay with going to a u-chop farm – all the rage around here. But we’re not lumberjack material. We don’t own a chainsaw or spend much time in the great outdoors. We would rather go to a well-lit lot, with pre-cut trees and find a not-Charlie Brown candidate. That feels more familiar and safe.
We drove the .7 miles to our favorite lot. The sky above us, while not leaking, held an assortment of fast-moving clouds. The sun had started its mighty descent, casting gold pieces in the dome above us. To the west, the clouds and sky conspired to create a bumpy blue section. I gulped in the now pine-fresh, rain-washed air as I gazed up. I couldn’t remember the last time we were all together, doing something non-church related. I felt grateful for the time, no matter how short.
After a few minutes of wandering around the small site, we didn’t find “it”, The Tree. We stood in consternation for a few minutes. It’s never happened to us before, this having to search thingie. We piled back into the car, the Four Musketeers, and trundled up the street some more. No trees here. No trees there. No trees anywhere!
We turned around and drove back into town, past the library and the fire station. Jonathon remembered a small lot on the way out of town. We pulled into the parking lot and clambered out. At least 3 dozen trees, leaning on a chain link fence, greeted us. Now that’s more like it!
The tree lot’s lone worker walked out. He offered a candy cane to Ruby. Her eyes lit up. She took one with great joy. Zac shook his head.
“Which tree do you like, Zac?” Jonathon asked our oldest.
Zac had been reluctant to leave his den. He didn’t see the point in going, at first. Why did he need to be with us? He muttered to himself. Suffice it to say we convinced him to join us. Now he was fully into it.
“That one. Right there.”
Zac pointed to a tree on the other side of the row from where we stood. It leaned precariously against a rail.
Jonathon asked the worker to stand it up so we could see it. He pulled the fir upright. He stamped its trunk on the ground, shaking its branches so it could be seen in all its glory. The tree had no empty spots or missing branches.
Truly, she was yar.
“Shall I trim it for ya?”
The worker brought out his chainsaw (standard male issue up here among the tall pines) and made short work of the tree’s knotty bottom. Then, the helpful man lifted it gently, like a sleeping child, and laid it on top of our car. He even tied it down for us. Such service!
Mission accomplished. We drove home, family togetherness achieved for a brief, shining moment. I found myself blessed by the level of service provided to us from a perfect stranger. Yes, it was probably part of his job, but it still made us feel taken care of. Isn’t that what Christmas spirit is all about?